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Consent underpins the Human Tissue Act (2004) (HT Act). This section explains the consent exemptions from the Act.
This position statement outlines guidance provided on consent for post-mortem examination and tissue retention.
Human tissue is used in scientific and medical research, to improve understanding of how diseases start and progress and what keeps us healthy. Researchers may find different ways of diagnosing disease, or develop new treatments.
The Human Tissue Act 2004 requires that the removal of tissue from the deceased for research within the scope of the Act must always be licensed, on specified premises, and that specific minimum requirements are met.
The GMC provides guidance setting out good practice principles for doctors involved in research.
The HTA has published guidance for hospital and mortuary staff on brain and spinal cord donation (link is external).
The purpose of this policy is to set out the HTA's policy on human tissue xenografts, whether they are relevant material that fall under the licensing framework of the HT Act 2004 and the consent implications.
Under the Human Tissue Act 2004, the HTA is required to license the storage of relevant material for ‘research in connection with disorders, or the functioning, of the human body’.